Les Alliés (The Allies) postcard
Signposts such as these were common in French trenches. Trenches could be given names, just like streets.
This sap was dubbed “Guts of the Labyrinth”; the name was particularly well chosen and was revelatory of the horror that awaited the soldiers once they entered the trench. Soldiers went into the soil of the trenches as they would into the guts of the battle.
The expression recalls the many stories of soldiers holding their intestines in with their bare hands after being torn open by shelling. Lastly, the labyrinth is a reference to the Greek myth of the Minotaur, suggesting that a monster might be hiding in the trenches. This signpost was therefore a rather chilling indication of the fate that awaited soldiers as they entered the labyrinth of the trenches.
“Guts of the Labyrinth” signpost (France), 1914-1918, wood, paint, 45 x 23.5 x 5 cm. Inventory no.: 2006.1.1495